modules of the degree program

Whatever you want to learn, it is in your hands – thanks to the selection of your personal focus project. We will support you – with the help of all knowledge gathered at Coburg University.

  1. The personal focus project over a period of three semesters with close supervision by regular mentor reviews (corrections) and focus reviews (coaching and expert knowledge)
  2. Accompanying cross-sectional lectures over a period of two semesters and a master’s course focusing on scientific work in the third semester

First Semester

  • 2 hours per week per semester at university (2 CP, which is equivalent to 20 hours of work)
  • Internship in a business or cultural institution (25 CP, which is equivalent to 750 hours of work)
  • Fokus-Internship-Report (3 CP, which is equivalent to 90 hours of work)

The first semester is a semester of practical work. During this period of time, you acquire experiences of practical work in an internship, which help you with your personal project, the focus project.

For this purpose, you look for a partner in business or culture, who shows interest in your project. The time needed for the focus project (25 CP) equals 18 weeks of internship with a 40-hour week.

At University, your internship and project are supervised in a corresponding Focus Internship Course of four days per semester. It is attended by your mentor.

During the practical semester, this course takes place once a month at university and lasts one day each time. The course deals with professional questions concerning your personal projects, attendance and supervision of the internship.

After the internship, you create a focus-internship report (3 CP). Here the interdisciplinary knowledge and experience in shaping professional practice should be displayed.

Second Semester

  • 23 hours per week per semester at university (30 CP, which is equivalent to 900 hours of work)

You spend the second semester at university only. Teaching and supervision add as follows

  1. Cross-sectional lectures to refine professional knowledge (12 hours per week per semester)
  2. Mentor review and corrections of the focus project by the mentor (4 hours per week per semester)
  3. Focus review, coaching, and courses regarding the focus project (9 hours per week per semester)

Third Semester

  • 8 hours per week per semester at university (10 CP, which is equivalent to 300 hours of work)
  • Master’s thesis (20 CP, which is equivalent to 600 hours of work)

The third semester is to be spent at university as well. Supervision by the mentor continues. Courses on scientific work are added. You compose your master’s thesis.
The third semester – an overview:

  1. Mentor review of the focus project including corrections by the mentor
  2. Master’s course focusing on scientific work and writing
  3. Master’s thesis

Focus projekt

In your focus project you investigate a task you assigned yourself

Which room concepts support team work? How can we save energy while cooking? What helps facilitate grocery shopping for senior citizens? Education in the master’s program starts with a question. A question you pose yourself – out of genuine interest, thirst for knowledge, and curiosity. It turns into the crucial starting point of your studies. The aim: To find answers in the course of three semesters.
In your first semester you are doing practical research in a business, a cultural institution, or in other institutions that suit your quest for answers to your questions.

Active Research During Your Internship

During your practical semester at an appropriate partner business or institution, you are doing research for your project. Depending on your task, you can perform experiments and field research, make observations, or carry out test series. Whatever you do – you always seek answers for your question independently.

Inquiring Research Makes Fit

“Inquiring research” is the name of an educational method that helps students work independently on a self-initiated project. This is the theme of our master.design in the context of the focus project. The advantage: Because of your thorough examination of a demanding question during three semesters, you are earning a distinct academic profile.

In addition to that you are training the following skills:

  • To assume responsibility for finishing a project independently
  • To work interdisciplinary and in a team during the internship and at university
  • To deal with your own way and method of working
  • To learn how to deal with failures and to develop alternatives
  • To endure ups and downs of project work

Thus, you are well prepared for demanding tasks in professional life.

Supervision at University

Although you work on your focus project independently, it will be closely supervised at university. Mentors are responsible for this task. During your practical semester, they continually align interim results with the original question. In the course of your further studies, various meetings with your mentor concentrate on your focus project as well. As a final step, you document your results and the research process in your master’s thesis.

Organization

For your application for the master.design program, you outline the question of your project and look for a mentor for your work. In addition to that, you name potential partners for your focus internship.In case of an admission to master.design, you organize your internship semester. The focus project will be the content of your master’s thesis.

Focus internship

An intern makes copies most of the time? This is not the practical work we think of regarding our focus internship. According to our concept of education, you will only stand in front of the copier for a longer period of time if you completely redesign it.

The first semester is a semester of practical work. But one could also name it a research semester because you are researching the basic facts for your focus project at a partner in the industry, in research, or in culture.

Two examples:

  • A student’s focus project deals with questions of ‘mobile offices’. He is doing his focus internship at the Fraunhofer Institute for Human Factors. There, he is exploring sociological, ergonomical, and psychological factors of office work. In experiments, he is observing test persons doing mobile office work.
  • A student develops a protection concept for firefighters in service. In the future, operations are to be kept under better surveillance by means of modern sensor technology. In case of danger, for example in form of invisible respiratory poison, firefighters are supposed to be warned by a communication system. The student spends her internship at a producer of sensor and communication technology. In addition to that, she sits in on the fire brigade and does research at occupational health physicians.

Duration of the Internship

The internship takes four month of 40 hours of work per week (total 18 weeks). You can spend this time at one or multiple project partners. Thus, it is quite possible for you to work two month at one project partner’s institution or company and after that two month at another partner’s. All in all, 840 hours of work have to be fulfilled and certified by the institutions.

Independent from the Start: Organization

Students are organizing their internships independently. Help and support are provided by the internship supervisors and lecturers of the master’s program.
In your application you already name potential project partners and a concept for the course of the project. But you do not make binding arrangements before you got accepted to the program. Advice: Please, clarify contents of the internship as early as in your internship interview. This way, disappointments can be prevented best. It is important for you to be able to work independently during your internship and to be integrated in teams, if possible. At university your project is supervised by your mentor and a master coach.

Internship Report

After your focus internship you write an internship report. You document first results and deliberate your first experiences in practical work. The minimum length of the report should be 35 pages. Citation is supposed to meet conventional scientific standards.

focus internship course

During your first semester, your mentor attends your internship in form of a Focus Internship Course (2 hours per week per semester).

Normally, you meet your mentor and other lecturers of the university once a month to deal with the following:

  • The concept of the project
  • Feedback
  • Professional questions concerning the project
  • The progress of the internship

cross-sectional lectures

In the cross-sectional lectures of the second semester (12 hours per week per semester) you broaden your skills in the fields of design, management, and communication.

In the cross-sectional lectures 10 professional fields are covered and offered – the so-called „Fachspektren“. You can choose four of these, according to your interests and preferences.
Every lecture takes 3 hours per week per semester and values 3 credit points (CP). This is a total of 12 CP in the second semester.

Materials

  • New technologies – innovative materials
  • New trends in materials research
  • Nanotechnology
  • Materials which are showing unusual properties
  • Lightweight material
  • Ecological and sustainable materials
  • Material extraction from nature
  • Alternative materials by the use of new substances

Ergonomics

  • Basics of Ergonomics
  • Anthropometric and systemic ergonomic data
  • Analysis and optimization of human actions and achievements
  • Usability tests of functional sequences, operation and interaction with objects, machines and interfaces
  • Interdisciplinary development of approaches for products, rooms, and public spaces to the point of virtual interfaces (interface design) and scenarios of interaction of humans and objects (interaction design)

Design and Science

  • Technology and scientific transfer in the field of design
  • Interdisciplinary processes of development
  • Design as a process-oriented discipline
  • Interdisciplinary work, cross-linked thinking
  • Science as source of inspiration for design
  • Design as source of inspiration for science
  • Connection of complex design processes with other creative disciplines, i. e. marketing, advertisement, PR, the media

Innovation and Process Management

  • Systematic development of innovation
  • Internal and external organization of processes of development
  • Time and resource management
  • Interdisciplinary coordination and hosting
  • Systematic development of comprehensive structures for continual management of processes of innovation and its documentation

Marketing & Communication

  • Market and trend analyses
  • Siting
  • Communication with different target groups
  • Messages/ positioning
  • Technology of conceptional design
  • Action planning
  • Public Relations
  • Press Relations
  • Advertising
  • Communications design

Temporary Room Solutions

  • Analysis of temporary room solutions in the private or public sphere focusing on their customization, psychology of perception, functionality, profiles of preconditions and requirements, style
  • Typology of temporary rooms (considering work, entertainment, communication, education, consuming, traffic)
  • Systematization of issues that are the basics of the different methods of planning and drafting

Adequacy & Target Orientation

  • Analysis of situations and systems to achieve integrated perceptions and interpretations of complex scenarios of needs and requirements
  • System theory and theory of complex systems
  • Methodological system analysis
  • Definition and exploration of trends
  • Sociological and psychological basics
  • Development of abstract and concrete objectives and appropriate methods
  • Self-management
  • Monitoring of time and resources

Social space

  • Development of design tasks based on knowledge of social issues
  • Determination of requirements based on recent findings in science and research
  • Architects as initiators and coordinators of processes of development
  • Development of social spaces, moving away from an object-oriented discipline towards a process-oriented discipline

Sustainable Space

  • Development of design tasks based on criteria of sustainability
  • Issues and self-image of ecological and energy-efficient construction in the German-speaking countries
  • Consideration and implementation of the findings of the stages of drafting, planning and implementation
  • Comparative evaluation of already existing buildings regarding targeted results in the fields of energy consumption, comfort, customization, functionality, life cycle, etc.
  • Trainings in the fields of sustainable regional, spatial and detailed planning
  • Development of ecological spaces, away from an object-oriented discipline towards a process-oriented discipline

focus review

In the Focus Review you work with a master coach. Furthermore, it aims at broadening your knowledge even more.

Coaching – In addition to your mentor, in the focus review a master coach is attending the organization of your studies and the management of your focus project.
Development of Expert Knowledge – In addition to that, you take courses that improve your skills in design processes.
In the Focus Review you are studying in groups of 12 students maximum.

Examples of possible topics:

  • Implement projects within a team
  • Design and brand
  • Strategic design development
  • Design-networks
  • Managing design projects
  • Analyzing the design potential of businesses
  • Quality management in product development
  • Project and cost management
  • Communication of design competences

Professional issues are included in the curriculum as well, for example:

  • Payment of design services (fees, licenses)
  • Drafting contracts
  • Liability and warranty

Mentor Review

The so-called Mentor Reviews in the second and third semesters still focus on your focus project.

Every week you are presenting your mentor with your work progress. You are receiving feedback and corrections.

In the Mentor Review you meet other students who picked the same thematic focus. In these groups of at most two participants you will experience a lively exchange of ideas. This way, networked studying is made possible: beyond your own project, the discussions of other student’s projects improve your skills as well.

master’s course

Curiosity is a kind of resource, which creative people have to have already. In the Master’s Course (6 hours per week per semester) of the third semester you train the ability to pose trendsetting questions and to find answers to these questions.

Every good designer is a scientist as well and every good architect a discoverer. Whoever wants to develop innovative concepts needs scientific curiosity in addition to knowledge. In the Master’s Course you learn how to sharpen your cognitive interest. Scientific work is a main content of the course.

  • Unfortunately, for scientific work there is no silver bullet. Similar to designing, it is important to find your own style. We want to support you in this with the following contents of teaching:
  • Trendsetting issues of architecture, interior design, and design
  • How to develop your own questions and define problems
  • How to shed light on these questions with the help of methods of scientific work
  • Learn how to write scientific texts: planning and structuring
  • Writing your master’s thesis

master thesis

Your master’s thesis is a challenging individual item which demonstrates all your skills.

Because you are able to deal with your master’s thesis topic from the beginning of the first semester, you have a lot of time to develop a creative and independent piece of work. This way, time pressure is minimized, from which a lot of students suffer at the end of their studies when dealing with the task of writing a scientific work.

You write your master’s thesis supervised by your mentor, who has attended you from the beginning of your first semester. Your thesis is an internationally acknowledged scientific work and, in the first place, serves as documentation of the following skills:

  • to pose a particular issue
  • to do research
  • to write down your scientific research in an approved way (cite correctly, etc.)

Depending on your scientific problem, your master’s thesis deals with the following features:

  • A complex design draft including draft versions, models, three-dimensional visualizations, renderings, or the like.
  • The written scientific work and a comprehensive documentation of the design draft
  • A presentation including a colloquium, or a public presentation